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RFK Jr’s anti-vax activism hits lowest spot ever — with Scientology and the Nation of Islam


[RFK Jr. flanked Thursday night by Dr. Brian Hooker, left, and Rev. Tony Muhammad]

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. insists that he’s “pro-vaccine,” but his actions and writings say otherwise. However, even we didn’t think the once respected public figure would sink this low — peddling his anti-vaccine message at a Scientology facility Thursday night in order to alarm the black community of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times reported recently how Kennedy has become such a demagogue on the issue, he had to apologize recently for claiming that a (scientifically debunked) link between vaccines and autism was causing a “holocaust” in this country.

“I want to apologize to all whom I offended by my use of the word ‘holocaust,’” the son of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said after that misstep. But at least that was in the heat of the moment during a debate in Sacramento, where lawmakers are considering a bill that would restrict the ability of parents to opt out of vaccinations for their children.

But this time, Kennedy really had no excuse. He chose to address two groups about as anti-science as it gets, and both of whom contain elements of science fiction nuttiness in their belief systems — the Church of Scientology and the Nation of Islam.

As we pointed out years ago, the two tiny organizations have been intermingling in the strangest of mashups — with Minister Louis Farrakhan’s bow tie-wearing followers somehow deciding that the whitest man who ever lived, L. Ron Hubbard, was on to something, and they’ve been paying for processing in his 1950-era “Dianetics.”


The relationship goes back at least six years, if not longer: Scientology’s Alfreddie Johnson was bringing Farrakhan around to Scientology Celebrity Centre events at least as early as 2006, as a photo of him and Farrakhan and singer Stacy Francis attests. Farrakhan then began extolling Hubbard and Dianetics in his long, rambling lectures, and encouraged his followers to get Book One auditing in order to become trained Dianeticists.

There’s evidence that at least a few Nation of Islam members have also moved on into Scientology proper, but we’ve still seen little evidence that the two groups are truly merging. Nation of Islam members are not joining Scientology’s Sea Org, and we’d be pretty shocked to see Scientology leader David Miscavige or any other church officials taking on positions of authority in the Nation of Islam.

But the one place where the melding of the two may be most pronounced is in the Inglewood “Ideal Org” and community center, which is where Tony Muhammad appeared with RFK Jr. Thursday night. Muhammad and another Alfreddie Johnson associate, Hanan Islam, have been involved in both groups, and they, along with Johnson, have been very controversial figures.

The Tampa Bay Times wrote a terrific series about the outright scam Islam and Muhammad got involved in by bleeding dry a charter school in Florida. In Los Angeles, they’ve been involved in one of Scientology’s drug rehab outfits, the kind we’ve been exposing as deceitful and shot through with pseudoscientific nonsense.

There’s really no wonder that these hucksters would oppose Sacramento’s decision to convince Californians to get their kids vaccinated. They’ve proven time and again that they’re interested in opposing science because it’s how they make money.

Kennedy, meanwhile, is the subject of pieces like this Washington Post profile, which treats him respectfully, but pretty openly wonders whether he realizes how nutty he sounds.

And now, he’s reduced to peddling fear in a Scientology facility. Seriously, it’s painful to watch. Here’s some video of RFK Jr. standing at a podium emblazoned with Scientology’s occult cross, talking about the shameful Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, as if the government were doing something similar by asking parents to get their kids vaccinated against measles. It’s appeal to emotion, and it’s effective, especially in this setting.


But with the California bill looking like it’s going to become law, you have to wonder why Kennedy is bothering to sink this low. What’s his agenda?

Hey, maybe RFK Jr. and Tom Cruise could hook up to warn the public about chemtrails.


Jon Atack ponders Scientology’s ‘mystery of mysteries’ as his Toronto conference looms

Jon_AtackJon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.

Jon sent us this dispatch as he’s preparing for this week’s big conference in Toronto. We’ll be joining him there on Monday, and on Tuesday he’s having us speak with Paulette Cooper.

JON: I should be packing as it is almost time to rush to the airport, but I wanted to share a few reflections before the Grand Event at Toronto begins, on Monday.

I had been a Scientologist for two years, when I read the transcript of a Hubbard lecture in Advance! magazine, issue 44, in 1977. I wondered if Hubbard was trying to tell me something about Scientology. Here is an extract, in Hubbard’s own words:

“Lord Dunsany tells one of the most wonderful stories about a monastery which was scheduled to fall one day. This monastery was up on a high hill. A rumor and a legend had gone forward for many centuries that on a certain day the monastery would fall. Finally, the day came and one of the peasants in the valley walked up to the monastery and walked in the front gate.

“He was quite astonished to find no guards on duty because the guards were back in a courtyard weeping because that day the monastery was scheduled to fall … And he walked on into an inner sanctum sanctorum, sanctorum plus and finally came down unguarded corridors to the largest central room of the entire place, where the mystery of all mysteries of all mysteries was kept.

“And there at the far side of the room it was obvious that the mystery was behind these huge black curtains. He walked over and he looked at the curtains and thought, ‘Well, it’s a very adventurous thing to do,’ but the monastery was scheduled to fall that day, so he ventured to do it. He reached up and pulled the curtains down, and there was nothing there. And the monastery fell that day.”

For Scientologists, the great mystery behind the curtains is “full operating thetan.” At this stage, which Hubbard first promised in 1952, before he had even come up with the expression “Operating Thetan,” the individual will be able to “exteriorize” from the human body and travel around the universe, at will, performing supernatural acts.

The state was codified under the title “Operating Thetan Section VIII.” In the 1970 printing of the book Scientology 0-8, OT VIII is defined as “ABILITY TO BE AT CAUSE KNOWINGLY AND AT WILL OVER THOUGHT, LIFE, FORM, MATTER, ENERGY, SPACE AND TIME, SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE.” Superpowers, indeed! If a planet annoys you, just blow it up. Heck, if a galaxy annoys you, just blow it up!

The trial run for OT VIII failed. The first OT VIII, Otto Roos – who was also one of only five Class XII auditors trained personally by Hubbard – was ejected from Scientology in the early 70s for finding hundreds of discreditable “rock slams” – indicating “evil purposes” in Hubbard’s auditing folders. I have been on friendly terms with Otto for many years, but I have yet to see anything supernatural in his behavior.

OT VIII languished for almost twenty years. Most significantly, it waited until after Hubbard was dead and gone and beyond the reproaches of the thousands who had believed that behind the OT VIII curtain was the greatest mystery of life itself.

In fact, behind the curtain was a small man, standing on a stool with a megaphone through which he bellowed at Dorothy, the Tin Woodsman, the Lion and the Scarecrow. It is awfully hard to admit that you have spent years chasing an illusion. But the cupboard is actually bare.

David Miscavige was aware of this, when he took over Scientology from Hubbard’s appointed heir, Pat Broeker. His first action was to remove all of Broeker’s filing cabinets. As the redoubtable proprietor of the Bunker found – in one of the most remarkable stories in Scientology history – Miscavige even hired PIs to watch Broeker for 24 years (and, no, I didn’t say “hours,” I said “years”) at a tax-deductible cost of over $10 million.

Miscavige knew well enough that the OT VIII he was offering would not achieve anything beyond the usual hypnotic euphoria. He also knew that when the “List” or “L” processes were released, in the early 70s, Hubbard had claimed they were extracted from OT XXIII (that’s “23” for those unfamiliar with Roman numerals). So, there were at least 15 levels above OT VIII. Miscavige spent over ten million dollars of parishioners’ money pursuing the missing levels, because without them, Scientology is nothing but an empty room.

If Tony will have me, I shall continue to offer the occasional squib for publication, but I shall no longer be working full time on Scientology. However, I intend to go out in a blaze of glory with the Toronto Seminar (I’m refraining from calling it the “Toronto Blessing”, please note).

I think that those who attend will remember it as fondly as aging hippies remember Woodstock. We don’t have Jimi Hendrix (unless he attends in spirit as he does in my novel, Voodoo Child), but we do have Gerry Armstrong, Hana Whitfield, Jesse Prince, Nancy Many, Paulette Cooper, Chuck Beatty, Nora Crest, Jamie de Wolf, Christian Szurko (who was at Woodstock), Steve Hassan, Tory Christman, Alexander Dvorkin, Pete Griffiths, Andreas Heldal-Lund, Steve Cannane, Nan McLean, Chris Shelton, David Pike, Brian Collinge and Professor Jim Beverley, along with one or two others who have signed up along the way.

There will also be contributions on video from all over the world, including a new interview with Russell Miller and some advice from Lawrence Wollersheim; and, of course, appearing in person, your proprietor, Tony Ortega.

I hope to see you there or have the pleasure of your company through the live stream. We are still in need of some funding for our film plans, so to donate or to find out more, please visit

Now I’d better pack that bag and catch a plane…

THE BUNKER: We’ll see you there, Jon. And in the meantime, if readers are curious about how things went when OT 8 was first released, please read one of our favorite Bunker stories of all time, about the “antichrist” version of OT 8, finally confirmed!



Our appearance at The Annoyance on Belmont Avenue at 5 pm carries no cover charge, but the organizers thought it would be a good idea to have folks reserve tickets. That means it sold out quickly, but since then we’ve heard from a few people that they can’t use their tickets after all. So, if you’re still interested in getting in, you might come by to see if they can squeeze you in.

As for us, we’re looking forward to getting on stage with this guy



There goes the gravy train

We spotted this gentleman taking long-lens photographs of us in the park Friday. Anyone seen him before?



We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Our upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

June 20: Chicago (with Christian Stolte) The Annoyance Theater, 5pm: This event is SOLD OUT.

June 22: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) Toronto Public Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd, 7:30 pm, sponsored by the Centre for Inquiry-Canada

June 23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) The “Getting Clear” conference

June 28: Clearwater, Florida (with Paulette Cooper) Clearwater Public Library, 2 pm, sponsored by Center for Inquiry-Tampa Bay

July 12: Washington DC, Drummond Hall, 2 pm Center for Inquiry (with Paulette Cooper)

July 14: Hartford, MARK TWAIN HOUSE (with Tom Tomorrow)

July 17: Denver, The Secular Hub, 7 pm (with Chris Shelton)

July 20: Dallas, Times Ten Cellar, 7 pm (with Robert Wilonsky)

July 22: Houston, Fox and Hound, sponsored by Humanists of Houston

July 24: San Antonio

July 25: Austin

July 29: Paris (with Jonny Jacobsen)

August 4: London, Conway Hall (with John Sweeney)

August 24: Boston, Boston Skeptics in the Pub, 7 pm

September 16: Arizona State University


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 20, 2015 at 00:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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